COVINGTON, La. (WVUE) -With heat indexes topping 100 degrees, St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston is urging caution, particularly as more people wear masks in compliance with state mandates.
"I absolutely want people to wear masks in public and avoid large gatherings, but I also want people to be conscious of the heat threat," Preston said. "COVID-19 has health effects that emerge in and last for days or weeks; heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses can come on in a matter of hours and be deadly."
Preston said his caution does not suggest people should eschew mask-wearing; rather, he said, citizens need to be very self-aware.
“If you begin to suffer the effects of excessive heat and have difficulty breathing, by all means remove your mask and tend to your symptoms,” Preston said. “Stay hydrated and try to stay in air-conditioned environments as much as possible. At all times, wear a mask if you’re able to do so, but don’t cling to the mask mandate at the risk of heat-related illness or death.”